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While living in the Channel Islands during his exile from France, Victor Hugo wrote L'Homme qu rit (The Man Who Laughs, 1869), one of his last vels. Using the early 18th century British political system as a backdrop, Hugo tells the story of a sideshow performer named Gwynplaine, whose hideously scarred face (purposely disfigured by torturers to produce a permanent grin) forces him to become an entertainer. As Gwynplaine's fortunes rise, he carries the desperate voice of the people to the ears of the aristocracy, with tragically predictable results. In The Man Who Laughs, Hugo is unrepentantly Republican in tone, producing perhaps his most biting and cynical tale, in which, he damns the power elite for the injustice and inhumanity inherent in their maintenance of class distinctions, all the while crying in the darkness for what he hopes is an inevitable change on the horizon. The result is a pathos-laden tragedy, full of both wit and woe.